Canada Research Chair in Biomaterials
Tier 2 - 2002-01-01
The University of British Columbia
Natural Sciences and Engineering
Examination and testing of biomaterials as replacements/implants for human teeth or bones.
This research will lead to the development of novel design concepts and processing methods for biomaterials to repair human teeth and bones.
Bio to the Bone
The combination of an aging population and a desire for improved quality of life has fuelled the growth of biomaterials science and engineering, a new field that combines biotechnology with materials science and engineering. Biomaterials - clinically engineered materials that are used to either replace or repair living tissues or to help them function properly - are increasing in use, including heart valves, drug delivery systems, dental implants and artificial hips. Despite this, most biomaterials have limited functioning time because of inappropriate mechanical properties, inferior biocompatibility or bioactivity, and early interfacial failure.
As Canada Research Chair in Biomaterials, Dr. Rizhi Wang will undertake a program with three broad objectives: to develop novel design principles and processing methods for the interface/surface of biomaterials with the goal of enhancing cell attachment and tissue regeneration; to create new biocomposites and new processing techniques to build in more intelligence to biomaterials; and to explore the biomechanics of bone and teeth to the nanometer scale to determine how natural materials are adapted to their functions.
Specifically, Dr. Wang's research will focus on three closely related topics.
First, his team will seek to gain a better understanding of how and why bones and teeth become deformed or fracture. A micro- and nanoscale fracture study will help relate bone brittleness to genetic diseases and inform how bone health might be improved through genetic engineering.
The second area of focus will be the interfaces in certain biological systems such as the enamel/dentin and cementum/enamel layers in human and mammal teeth, and the prismatic layer/nacreous layer boundary in pearl oysters. In previous work, Dr. Wang has made important discoveries about the importance of these interfacial junctures.
Finally, Dr. Wang will conduct research on surface patterning as a means of improving the fit and interfunctionality of biomaterials and natural bone or teeth.